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Navigation: US Drug Enforcement Administration Seizes 30 Million Doses of Fentanyl from Sinaloa Drug Cartel, What is Fentanyl?, What Are the Dangers of Fentanyl Use?, Who Are at Risk of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction?, Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction


It goes without saying that drug trafficking in the US has deadly consequences. More people are being exposed to deadly drugs as these illicit substances enter the country. For example, there has been a recent influx of illicit Fentanyl entering the US, which increases the chances that someone will unknowingly consume it.

Criminal drug cartels have a lot to do with this drug trafficking problem. These cartels are selling counterfeit prescription drugs that are actually cut with illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine with Fentanyl powder.

Patients manage severe pain with these synthetic opioids. But people do not realize they are buying these dangerous drugs, thinking they are getting prescription medications like hydrocodone, Percocet, Xanax, Adderall, and OxyContin.

Fentanyl is commonly used to cut these medications because it can produce an intensely euphoric high while still being relatively cheap. For unsuspecting consumers, this could be deadly because the risk of an overdose is high when you don’t know what you are taking.

In fact, nearly 150 people die from overdoses that are linked to Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 107,375 people in the US died of an overdose in the year 2021. Fentanyl and synthetic opioids were involved in 67% of these overdose deaths.

Recently, a 3-year investigation of a drug cartel finally paid off when Arizona police managed to seize 30 million doses of Fentanyl.

US Drug Enforcement Administration Seizes 30 Million Doses of Fentanyl from Sinaloa Drug Cartel

The Tempe Police Department, along with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized 4.5 million Fentanyl pills, 3,000 pounds of methamphetamine, 145 pounds of Fentanyl powder, and 77 pounds of heroin from the Sinaloa drug cartel, following a three-year investigation. The drugs seized along with all the Fentanyl seized represents $13 million worth of drugs. Among the narcotics seized by DEA agents were prescription pills that have been laced with Fentanyl.

The police also managed to seize 49 firearms and $2 million in cash.

The DEA stated in a press release that the Sinaloa drug cartel is “responsible for nearly all deadly narcotics flooding into Arizona.”

The Sinaloa Cartel is a powerful and notorious drug trafficking organization based in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. It is considered to be one of the most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the world, with operations extending throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Historically, this cartel has targeted cities that are close to the Mexico-US border in order to mass distribute Fentanyl.

It has also been involved in the production, smuggling, and distribution of other illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The cartel has been linked to various violent activities, including kidnappings, assassinations, and turf wars with rival drug cartels.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Cheri Oz said: “DEA Arizona is laser focused on the Sinaloa drug cartel. We will not stop. This investigation is a testament to our strong partnerships which enable us to gain the necessary advantage over these evil criminal networks.”

Fentanyl trafficking continues to be a problem. In 2022, the DEA seized $22 million worth of Fentanyl-laced prescription drugs along with 1,100 pounds of Fentanyl powder in Arizona alone.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid drug that is used medically to manage severe pain, such as cancer pain or pain after surgery. Fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which reduces pain signals and can also produce a sense of euphoria or relaxation.

Fentanyl is typically available in various forms, including patches, lozenges, tablets, injections, and nasal sprays.

It is also sometimes used as a recreational drug due to its powerful effects. However, it is highly addictive and can lead to overdose and death when taken in excessive amounts or when combined with other drugs.

In fact, this dangerous synthetic opioid is considered one of the leading causes of overdose-related deaths in the US.

Fentanyl is considered to be one of the strongest opioids available and is often used in medical settings for pain management in patients who have developed a tolerance to other opioids. This opioid is so potent that it is 100 times stronger than morphine. Even small amounts of the drug can have a powerful effect on the body.

The DEA says that even two milligrams of this drug can be a lethal dose. In 2022, DEA revealed that 6 out of 10 prescription pills laced with Fentanyl contained a potentially lethal dose of the drug.

Despite its apparent dangers, some people still abuse Fentanyl because it can produce a strong sense of euphoria and pain relief.

Overdose deaths related to fentanyl have been on the rise in recent years, as people often do not realize the strength of the drug or the potential risks of using it. Not to mention there are people who purchase counterfeit prescription pills who do not even realize they are taking Fentanyl.

Additionally, some people may abuse fentanyl because they have developed a tolerance to other opioids and are seeking a more powerful high. Others may turn to fentanyl as a cheaper alternative to other drugs, such as heroin, or as a way to alleviate withdrawal symptoms from other opioids.

Regardless of the reason, Fentanyl abuse is incredibly dangerous and can easily lead to a fatal overdose.

What Are the Dangers of Fentanyl Use?

As a synthetic opioid, Fentanyl is a potent pain reliever that is used to treat severe pain. However, the drug is extremely potent and can be dangerous, even deadly, when used improperly.

Fentanyl use can cause respiratory depression, which means that the drug can slow down breathing. This can be dangerous, especially for people with respiratory problems.

Even small amounts of this drug can cause an overdose, which may lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death.

Some people end up developing Fentanyl physical and psychological dependence. This means their body has adapted to the continuous usage of Fentanyl. If they try to reduce their intake or quit entirely, they may go into withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms from Fentanyl can be severe and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, and anxiety. Fentanyl is also highly addictive. In fact, users can quickly become addicted to this substance after only using it a few times.

Fentanyl addiction is a medical condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and the inability to control or stop its use.

An addicted person will keep on taking the drug despite the dangers and even when they are already suffering from the adverse health effects. And Fentanyl addiction can have serious health consequences.

Addicted individuals are at an increased risk of respiratory depression, overdose, and death.

Other health risks associated with Fentanyl use include constipation, confusion, hallucinations, and seizures.

It is important to use Fentanyl only as prescribed by a doctor and to follow the instructions carefully. Fentanyl should not be used by anyone other than the person for whom it was prescribed. If you suspect that someone has overdosed on fentanyl, seek medical attention immediately.

Who Are at Risk of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction?

Anyone who uses fentanyl, whether prescribed or obtained illicitly, is at risk of developing a substance use disorder. However, some individuals may be at higher risk than others. There are various risk factors that may play a role in the development of Fentanyl addiction.

Individuals with a history of substance use disorder such as drug abuse or alcohol addiction are more likely to become addicted to Fentanyl, for starters.

Even if you don’t abuse drugs recreationally, if you are dealing with chronic pain, you may be at risk of a Fentanyl addiction if you are prescribed with it. As you use your prescription, your body may develop tolerance to the drug over time. Make sure you stay in touch with your doctor to report any side effects. Always stick with their prescribed dose and follow their instructions carefully, especially when it comes to Fentanyl.

People with mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are more likely to abuse Fentanyl as a way to self-medicate their symptoms.

People who use other opioids, whether it’s heroin or prescription painkillers, are at a higher risk of  becoming addicted if they start taking Fentanyl.

As for specific demographics, young adults are at a higher risk of Fentanyl abuse than older adults.

Here are other risk factors that can increase a person’s likelihood of developing a Fentanyl addiction:

Genetics: Genetic factors may play a role in the likelihood of developing an addiction to Fentanyl.

History of substance abuse: Individuals with a history of substance abuse are at a higher risk for Fentanyl abuse.

Social factors: Social factors such as poverty, unemployment, and a lack of social support can also increase the risk of Fentanyl abuse.

Polydrug use: People who use multiple drugs are at a higher risk of developing an addiction to Fentanyl.

Gender: Men are more likely than women to abuse Fentanyl.

It is important to note that anyone can become addicted to fentanyl, regardless of their age, gender, or socioeconomic status. If you or someone you know is struggling with fentanyl abuse, seek help from a healthcare professional or addiction specialist.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Even if you end up getting addicted to your Fentanyl prescription, you can still recover from this condition. All you have to do is make sure you get proper treatment from medical professionals.

The treatment for Fentanyl addiction typically involves a combination of medical and behavioral interventions. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the most common strategies for Fentanyl addiction treatment. Medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings for Fentanyl. These medications are typically used in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies.

By dealing with the physical and mental health effects of Fentanyl, the person is able to focus on their recovery. They can learn healthy coping mechanisms that they can use to stay sober even after they leave rehab.

Counseling and behavioral therapies are crucial in helping people with Fentanyl addiction understand and change their behaviors and thought patterns related to drug use. Examples of behavioral therapies include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and contingency management.

Fentanyl addiction treatment can be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Inpatient rehab programs provide intensive, 24-hour care in a structured environment, while outpatient programs offer treatment on a less intensive basis. One is not necessarily better than the other. It’s all a matter of figuring out which one best suits the patient’s needs.

Those with mild to moderate cases of addiction may benefit from an outpatient treatment where they can still keep up with their responsibilities while recovering from their addiction. On the other hand, those who need more intensive care because of severe addiction may benefit from the focused environment of an inpatient rehab.

Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART Recovery, can provide ongoing peer support and encouragement to people in recovery from Fentanyl addiction.

The most effective treatment for Fentanyl addiction will vary depending on the individual and their unique circumstances. Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and learn more about all the ways you can help your loved one fight their Fentanyl addiction.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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